Taking The Time To Celebrate

So this week I want to talk about the importance of giving thanks, sharing gratitude, and taking the time to slow down once in a while in our pursuit of progress to simply embrace and celebrate where we are as a school, and to recognize what we have accomplished as a collective community. We work so hard as educators, and we are so committed to doing our best for our students that sometimes it becomes very, very easy to get lost in the work, without taking these important pauses. Slowing down once in a while, taking a deep collective breath, and celebrating the work that’s been done along the way is the key to allowing the great work to continue, and much to my delight, we do that really well here at SSIS.

Recently for example, we have stopped to celebrate the opening of our new, purpose built facilities with our faculty and staff, and we have planned an even bigger, more public celebration in the upcoming weeks. We also just came off of our school-wide kindness week, organized by our incredible counseling team, where we spent several days celebrating each other, doing random acts of kindness, sharing our gratitude and simply taking the time to recognize and celebrate the beauty of our school, and on top of all that we took this past week’s full faculty meeting to celebrate our fantastic community survey results and our impressive progress related to our strategic plan…so good. 

To tell you the truth, there was a moment during last week’s facility opening ceremony when I looked around and found myself getting very emotional. The sun was warm and shining, the entire audience was smiling and happy and cheering loudly at every opportunity, the students were excited beyond belief, and the gratitude that I felt inside at that particular moment just came spilling over. By creating moments of celebration like these we allow space for our gratitude to sink in and flow out, which ends up connecting us deeply to the meaning and purpose of our work, and keeps us coming back for more 🙂

Actually, If we all stop to think about it, there is so much to be thankful for here in our lives as a faculty that it’s almost impossible to hold all the gratitude in, and stop it from flowing out. We work in a beautiful school, in a beautiful country, with amazing students, and incredible teachers, and engaged parents, and a loyal and proud support staff, and a strong vision for the future of the school…I could go on and on and on. I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes as schools, if we aren’t careful and purposeful with our priorities, it can become easy to get caught up in our busy day to day lives. We can get consumed with all the work that we want and need to do, and get to a place where we can forget to take the time, on a regular basis, to recognize, and internalize all that we have to be thankful and grateful for.

So, with that in mind, I want to publicly celebrate you all today for your unwavering commitment to our students, and to their learning. I want to say thank you for being so good to each other, and to me as a newbie to the school, and for approaching every educational conversation with an open mind and with positive intent. I want to thank you for finding your educational voices and your educational courage so quickly this year, and I want to celebrate you for being the kind, caring, and hardworking people and professionals that you all are. We are a very high achieving school, with exciting aspirations and dreams that are progressive and forward thinking, and we move at a fast pace around here to meet these goals. Let’s just make sure that we continue to hold each other accountable for taking a step back once in a while in order to celebrate…not just the big things like new buildings, but the small, day to day accomplishments as well. It’s the little things that can go by invisibly if we don’t make a concerted effort to call them out and give them the recognition that they deserve. 

Supporting this notion, our amazing Head of School, Dr. Catriona Moran, recently spoke at our leadership team meeting about the importance of prioritizing regular celebrations as a school, as well as the undeniable connection between celebration and positive culture building, and you know what, I couldn’t agree more. Culture does indeed eat strategy for breakfast as they say, and it feels great to be a part of a school that prioritizes this important mindset. 

Okay, with all of that in mind, let’s keep celebrating all of what makes our community so special as we speed toward the month of May, and commit to finding the time throughout the week, or even daily, to recognize and vocalize our gratitude. Let’s celebrate each other, our students, our SSIS staff and everyone else that contributes to this special place. Let the gratitude truly overwhelm as we look to finish the year strong. Have a fantastic week and remember to be great for our students and grateful for each other!

Quote of the Week…

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts – Henri Frederic Amiel

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